“Plant People” Photo Credit: Amanda Reiman.
A common interest in growing one’s own food and herbs has been on the rise due to the pandemic. In fact, according to a recently study by Draper Tools, which manufactures gardening supplies, more young adults prefer gardening over clubbing.
While younger generations consider gardening “cool,” the study reports, people of all ages find it rewarding and calming to take care of plants.
Furthermore, cultivating a personal garden can be a safer, less-expensive option than buying from others. Personal Plants is one company that has expanded on this concept in order to help others learn.
Personal Plants is a compilation of mixed media that aims to teach people how to nurture their own therapeutic plants at home. The company simply provides education and access to the materials needed for growing certain herbs including various mushrooms, hemp, and cannabis so that the customer can successfully plant all by themselves.
“I’d call it almost a paint-by-numbers approach,” explains Amanda Reiman, founder of Personal Plants. “We know that a lot of people are anxious about trying plant medicines or making their own medicines because they want to make sure they do it right. So we really wanted to support people in that experiment for themselves.”
Aside from educational content like expert-led videos, Personal Plants also offers a variety of kits. Kits include seedlings, pots/containers, and additional ingredients like soil or drink mixes. There are options such as medical mushrooms, cannabis, and hemp. There are also kits that don’t contain cannabis, such as botanical drinks and spreads. Additionally, there are tutorials on the website that help guide people.
Rooted in Wellness
Reiman founded Personal Plants in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Reiman has been interested in medicinal plants for a large chunk of her life. She was diagnosed with arthritis in her feet at the ripe age of 23. She didn’t want to take prescription medications that contained chemicals because she would take them for the rest of her life. Therefore, she decided to look into alternative treatments.
As of today, Reiman creates and consumes edibles and cannabis-infused topicals which she says sustains relief for longer periods of time. “One of the symptoms of arthritis is swollen joints,” she adds, “[there’s also] a lot of stiffness in the joint and cannabis topicals are amazing at increasing blood flow to the area and helping with that stiffness.”
When Reiman first started her search for plant-based treatment options, she decided to grow her own cannabis. She found many websites with contradictory information about what tools and ingredients individuals need to begin. Therefore, she created a resource where other home growers — whether they are growing cannabis or lavendar — feel capable of cultivating medicinal plants.
Key Tips for Beginners
Personal Plants has an array of instructors who teach people how to grow from home. One teacher in particular, Ophelia Chong, shares her insight on the process of growing mushrooms.
Chong was a college professor for five years, so teaching comes naturally to her. Now, Chong specializes in the process of growing oyster mushrooms and provides instructional videos for Personal Plants.
She learned how to grow mushrooms five years ago and has embraced it ever since, she tells Emerald by email. In 2019, Chong even co-produced videos about mushrooms with DoubleBlind, a print magazine and media company that reports on psychedelics.
Chong’s overall goal is to help spread awareness about mushrooms, and teach others to grow their own. As such, she has a few key tips for beginners.
Firstly, she believes people should understand the differences between plants and fungi. For a plant, a person needs a seed and soil, for it takes in C02 and gives off oxygen. A mushroom involves spores, which are like their seeds. Additionally, they need a combination of rye berries, brown rice, oats, millet, and corn as their soil, Chong explains.
After they sprout, they are then placed into soil that contains vermiculite, perlite, coconut fiber coir, and sterilized manure, she says. This process is clearly more thorough than that of a plant, and accordingly, requires this knowledge.
Secondly, Chong says that fungi grow faster than plants. For example, Chong explains, once they are put into substrate, they quadruple in size after only 10 days. Therefore, fungi growers should keep up with the progress for an optimal end result.
The process may seem rather intricate, but the final results will be worth it. According to Chong, “oyster mushrooms have big fan-like gills that stretch upward in the color palette that brings the beauty to our lives, from pink, ivory, black, gray, white and yellow, the colors oysters present are like nature’s pearls.”
Amanda Reiman is very passionate about supporting local causes. Planting Justice is the first cause that she chose to support through her company because she admires the purpose.
“I’ve always been very enamored with Planting Justice. They’re an organization that serves my passions,” says Reiman.
Planting Justice is a non-profit organization that is based in Oakland, California. Its members install community gardens in underserved areas throughout the city. According to the site, many Bay Area residents don’t have access to fresh fruits and vegetables due to the fact that there is not a lot of green space. Therefore, community gardens are an important way for people to get economical access to fresh produce.
Additionally, the organization also trains people who are recently coming out of the criminal justice system on how to grow food and manage the gardens.
What’s up and Coming?
Currently, Personal Plants is coming out with a few new kits. One of the upcoming kits, an Adaptogenic Mushroom kit, will include organic honey, powdered Reishi (a type of matcha), and powdered lion’s mane mushrooms (which may reduce stress, anxiety, and nerve damage). The customer will simply mix the ingredients together to create a superfood, and can add it to toast or tea to give it a healthy kick.
Another addition to their site will be a CBD-infused drink kit. The kit will include sulgar (salt/sugar combination), all-natural tonics made with medicinal plants, and locally-sourced THC or CBD.
Reiman says this allows consumers “to control the ingredients and you also get to control how much CBD or THC is in your drink. We all know that people have different tolerances and different needs.”
There will also be tutorial videos available that will teach customers how to make herbal beverages. Consumers can have this drink as an alternative to an alcoholic beverage. It still has some fun and customizable effects for the consumer.
In the near future, Reiman looks forward to offering in-person classes as officials start to reduce COVID-19 restrictions. Her website already includes a variety of kits, accompanied by courses and articles to help guide customers along the way.
In the meantime, Personal Plants has already presented a new and efficient method of self-growing to meet wants and medicinal needs.
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